Chain eateries cater to special diets & more news

In this gluten free news roundup, learn how some chain eateries are catering to special diets; see what happens when a news outlet tests candy for gluten using a Nima sensor; and what if fructan, not gluten, is really the problem in non-celiac gluten sensitivity?

California Pizza Kitchen, other chains offer more special diet-friendly options

Learn how chain eateries are catering to special diets; some candies are tested for gluten; and what if fructan, not gluten, is really the problem?

Cauliflower pizza crust hits the mainstream; it’s not just for home any more! photo credit: hallosunnymama cauliflower pizza crust via photopin (license)

A recent report from USA Today notes that major chain restaurants are trying to be more accommodating to their customers with special dietary requirements. They report California Pizza Kitchen has launched a gluten free cauliflower pizza base. Apparently they already have a gluten free base, so maybe this is for the paleo folks (who also don’t eat cheese?)

They also report that Papa John’s is offering gluten free crust, which is news to me! Upon further investigation, Papa John’s website states, “Not recommended for customers with Celiac Disease as pizzas may be exposed to gluten during the preparation process.” So good effort, but probably still not enough for most celiacs. It’s definitely possible for a pizza place to handle both (see the UK’s Pizza Express, which I wrote about here) so here’s hoping they continue to work on their kitchen processes to improve their food safety for everyone.

The article notes, “Even though the total revenue from gluten- or dairy-free diners may be relatively small, the impact is much larger because they’re usually the ones who influence the decision of a group of family or friends on where to go to eat.” It’s about time restaurants realized this and starting accommodating the whole family.

Gluten test: news outlet tests popular candies for gluten content

Learn how chain eateries are catering to special diets; some candies are tested for gluten; and what if fructan, not gluten, is really the problem?

Gluten or nah? photo credit: jeff_golden Candy via photopin (license)

Cleveland.com recently published the results of their gluten test on several popular candies. They used the Nima Sensor for the test. Some won’t surprise you (Whoppers, as known as malt balls, contain gluten) but a few of their findings were a shock. Snickers failed two of three tests despite having no clear gluten-containing ingredients. I was also unaware that Milky Way contains barley malt, though it is apparently on the ingredients. (Is this new or did I not read carefully enough?) Finally, on the positive side, Reese’s Trees came back safe – Reese’s will only say their regular cups are gluten free, but they don’t confirm on any of the special shapes. At least the trees seem to be safe!

Is fructan to blame for gluten sensitivity?

Learn how chain eateries are catering to special diets; some candies are tested for gluten; and what if fructan, not gluten, is really the problem?

Does this mean I can eat sourdough again? photo credit: jeffreyw Mmm… sourdough via photopin (license)

A colleague of mine at work sent me this article from Vox, which covers recent research suggesting that fructan, not gluten, may be the problem in people who think they are gluten sensitive. More specifically, they’ve focused on FODMAPs, or “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.” Per the article, “FODMAPs include the fructose in fruits and vegetables, the lactose in dairy products, the galactans in legumes, and the fructans in wheat and rye (as well as in other foods like artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic, and onions).”

The study gave participants muesli bars that contained gluten, fructan (one of the FODMAPs) or were placebos. They found people had the most stomach trouble after eating the high fructan bars, and the gluten bars had no effect.

My chiropractor recently suggested that I do a low FODMAP diet, but I chose to do the Whole 30 instead, largely because I thought it would be harder to keep the high FODMAP fruits and vegetables out of my diet. After reading this latest research, I’m considering whether it might be something I should try.

Have you tried one of the new gluten free pizza crusts, or any of the other foods for special diets? Are you surprised about Snickers having gluten in it? Tell me in the comments!


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